LaCAN Leaders strive to meet with every state legislator in person prior to each legislative session to provide information about issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families. Leaders schedule and coordinate these visits, provide fact sheets to introduce and explain the issues, and support members in sharing their personal stories.
It is important to note that every legislative visit is different. Legislators are real people, and just like everyone else, they have unique personalities. Those personalities will inevitably influence the mood, flow, and length of your visit. Some legislators are talkers; while others are listeners. Some are formal in their interactions with constituents; others are more casual and laid back. Some legislators will express a genuine interest or share your concern for disability-related issues; others will have different priorities and passions.
While visits may have many differences, there are a few things you can expect to take place during your visit.
- Your LaCAN Leader will present the factual information to the legislator, such as, statistics and figures related to the issue. You will be asked to provide a personal example of how the issue effects your everyday life as a constituent. Your Leader will work with you prior to the visit to help you plan what to say.
- You may be nervous. It is common to experience some anxiety when trying something new. Just remember that you are the expert on your life and family. You know something your legislator needs to know, but may not have the personal experience you offer. You may also feel any number of other emotions (grief, anger, frustration, etc.). These are also common.
- Legislators will have questions. Sometimes these questions will be directed toward you. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer. Your Leader is there to support you and the answer can always be given to the legislator at a later time.
LaCAN Leaders are always looking for members who are interested in participating in legislative visits. Visits can be made year-round, but are especially common in the months leading up to the session (beginning as early as July). Please contact your Leader if you would like to join him/her on a legislative visit. Click here for LaCAN Leader contact info.
Click here for our page on How to Visit Your Policymaker to find tips on preparing for the visit, what steps to take for an effective visit, and guides for proper etiquette during the visit.